Affordable housing stressed by Lewes Planning Commission

City hoping for valuable feedback at public workshop
April 21, 2022

In advance of a public workshop on the five-year review of the city’s comprehensive plan Tuesday, April 26, officials and staff have been gathering information from committees and commissions for presentation to the public.

The Lewes Planning Commission added its input to the review April 20, with a heavy emphasis placed on affordable housing.

Commissioner Debra Evalds said the city needs to concentrate a lot on the issue. Evalds suggested opening the dialogue more in order to find solutions to the problem, saying other municipalities have recently brought in speakers to discuss new ideas. The city is limited by a number of factors in how it can address affordable and workforce housing, but there are some avenues available for officials to achieve certain goals.

Lewes does not have a current inventory of affordable and workforce housing in the area, and  in order to tackle the issue, commissioners agreed it’s important to have an accurate number of options within city limits. It is believed that neighborhoods such as newly annexed Donovan-Smith Manufactured Home Park and Jefferson Apartments qualify under one of the two housing umbrellas, but more information is needed to accurately assess what is available in the city.

Councilman Khalil Saliba, an ex officio commission member, said he spoke with several restaurateurs who have inquired about buying in Dutchman’s Harvest – a 140-unit workforce housing project set to begin construction soon – as a way to provide housing for employees. Evalds’ prior suggestions specifically mentioned a lack of options creating hiring problems for not just the food and beverage industry, but all tourist-related businesses seeking seasonal help. Commissioners discussed ideas for connecting those looking for housing options with what might be available in the city, such as Dutchman’s Harvest.

Janelle Cornwell, the city’s planning and development officer, believes there were some good ideas discussed leading up to the workshop and an affordable housing station should be productive. Information obtained from the April 26 exercise will be combed through carefully May through July in preparation for a public hearing on the review in August. 

Lewes is encouraging as much participation from the public as possible and asks anyone interested in providing feedback to attend the workshop from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 26 at the Rollins Community Center. Attendees will be given a chance to learn more about or voice their opinion on annexation, housing, environmental protection, utilities, and historical and cultural affairs.


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